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My name is Ashley Coone and I started Ideal Protein on November 25, 2017. My coach, Joann Cooper has been a tremendous support system for me and cheering me on every step of the way even though I have hit a few setbacks and obstacles.  One thing I will say, it’s extremely important you find a coach that will hold you accountable, follow 100% protocol and encourage you when you have ups and downs. I can say, Joann, has been a blessing from God. I feel God leads us to people for a reason and I know we will be lifelong friends.

As a little girl, I have always struggled with my weight. I was always known as the “chunky girl” and my weight would constantly fluctuate. My Mom would always try different ways to help me learn how to eat healthier and the funny thing was, is I was very active my whole life. I played Softball, Basketball and ran track, but I never could understand why I never looked like the other girls in school. I assumed I could eat whatever and however much I wanted and would lose weight. I proved that to be a false assumption over the years and especially as I got older.

Looking back, when I think about the times I would eat, I would never eat the way I was supposed to. I would find myself eating until I was sick to my stomach. No, I never have suffered from Bulimia or Anorexia, but what I do suffer with is Binge Eating. I love food! I love the taste of food, the smells, the texture, but most of all the feeling of happiness I would receive for 15 minutes while I was stuffing my face. Then I realized, after that 15 minutes of satisfaction was over, my problems were still there. They didn’t go away. Not only were my problems still there, I felt horrible mentally and physically.

Not only am I a binge eater, I am also an emotional eater. Anything that has ever happened in my life, I have eaten over it. As people we always celebrate any event occurring in our lives with food. Marriage, Finances, Kids, Trips, Shopping, Work, you name it, I promise I have celebrated or drowned my sorrows in food because of it.

Over the years, and not to mention multiple sessions with counselors, I have come to the realization that I am a food addict. I am an addict! I use to always think, how did this happen to me, why me, how did I become a food addict? Looking back, my Father was an alcoholic. I saw him drink A LOT over the years and I truly believe I developed this disease due to genetics. My alcohol is FOOD!  

I’m 41 years old, 5’9 and am 196 lbs. I hear people say all the time, you’re so tall and you carry it so well, you don’t need to lose weight. Those people would always make me question myself, wondering if I really needed to lose weight. I have discovered over the years if I’m unhappy with myself and how I feel, then yes, I need to do something about it and stop listening to what anyone else says.  More importantly, I need to stop this unhealthy relationship I have with food, because it has made me who I am today, what I look like and how I feel.

We have to be committed 100% and realize this is a Life Style Change! This is not a quick fix, because if we think of it as a quick fix and lose the weight we will fall back into our old habits and the weight will come back on. Trust me, I started IP in November as I mentioned, and I was 100% in, but there were some bumps along the way with family personal issues, and I made bad choices. I am having to learn to take it one day at a time and when we do have personal issues occurring in our life, work related stress, family stress, whatever the case may be, I have to STOP turning to food! Food is not going to be my fix of all my problems, because the problems will still be there after I have had my 15 minutes of satisfaction with my favorite food/dessert. Trust me, I could be the poster child of drowning my sorrows in food.

I felt it was good to share my story with all of you, because I believe when we put our thoughts to pen and paper we learn to have a better understanding why we do the things we do. I hope that my story over the course of time will help you and let you know that you are NOT alone. We are all in this together!

Once or twice a week, I am going to share my successes with you and my struggles. After all, we are human and even though I am committing myself to this program 100%, I still will have struggles that I will tell you how I dealt with them and what smart choices I made to not fall back into my old habits.

One of my favorite quotes from Mya Angelou is – “When we know better, we do better”. Think about that for a minute.

Life happens. Obstacles get in our way, but it’s the choices we decide to make on how we will deal with the situation. It’s our bad choices we have chosen that have gotten us to where we are today. Let’s stop the vicious cycle and do better, because we know better!

Strive for progress, not perfection! Think for yourself. Trust your own intuition. Another’s mind isn’t walking your journey, YOU ARE!

I have been a clinic owner since April of 2008 when Ideal Protein first came to the United States.  At that time, I went through the program and lost 37 pounds in 4 months.  It was truly life changing.  Over the course of the last 10 years I have managed my weight pretty well, only gaining 6-8 pounds in a year, but not every year.  I use the New Year to detox and re calibrate my pancreas and lose the extra weight gain. It’s much easier to focus on 6-8 pounds rather than 35-40!  I am always able lose it.  The last year and a half, however, I developed hypothyroidism.  I could not lose the weight and felt absolutely terrible!  After seeing two different doctors (one specialist), changing prescriptions many times, I have finally gotten my thyroid and hormone levels where they should be and I feel so much better!  This January 3rd I went back on the Ideal Protein protocol, Phase I with a goal of losing 14 pounds.  I am happy to say I am half way there!  I truly don’t care about the weight number, but to me, the inches are what truly matter.  I love to feel good in my skinny jeans (no muffin top) and I love to be able to go into my closet and just grab something and know it will fit and I will feel good in it.  I am almost there.

Is this hard the 2nd, 6th, 8th 10th time around? YES at times!  My husband and I do eat out frequently as we don’t have any human children and it’s just us so we love to try new different places in our area.  It does take tremendous discipline when everyone around you is drinking and eating whatever they want. I can do it, but like many of you, it is a challenge.  I keep in the back of my mind “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!”  I want to do this not only to look and feel great, but for my HEALTH!

There are a lot of other diets out there and many FaceBook forums sharing “short-cut” ways and IP Alternatives to do the program.  I know from “experience” alternatives and short-cuts don’t always work and are not as effective.  This is my personal opinion and base it on my own journey and working with thousands of clients over the last 10 years.  Ideal Protein is the only method I have found to work for me.  Yes it is restrictive, but I can’t discount the results for myself and many, many others!  A program should be measurable, have a success road-map that comes with coaching and accountability. Without these, it’s so easy to give excuses and allowances.  Once this starts, it’s hard to get back to the basics and start again.

Over the course of the next few weeks, one of my personal clients, Ashley, will be sharing her own personal journey with the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method.  We both want to share our experiences to help others in hopes to give support and to let others know that you are not alone in this!  WE all  have a story, and every pound that we carry has a story.  I was never a skinny child or teenager and have always had to lose weight. To this day, I think of my weight and what I put in my mouth ever single day.

Whether you are starting your weight loss journey today or you are in the midst of it, you are not alone!  We are in the trenches with you, applauding your successes and working through the mistakes.

“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake!  You can’t learn from being perfect!  Learn from your mistakes to start making the best choices for yourself and your health!

~ Joann Cooper – Owner & Success Coach at RenuU-Houston & Plano Texas

Oh My Goodness, a whopping 7,776,000 seconds, which turns into an amazing 129,600 minutes.   Those minutes are really 2,160 hours or the equivalent of…my first 90 days.  When I think of it that way, I feel as though I’m accomplishing something BIG!  All those millions of seconds that I could have been maintaining my old habits, or creating even worse ones, have been focused on changing my bad habits and changing my eating life style.

All those seconds…minutes…hours…days reflect my first 90 days on my RenuU Health Plan.  I’ve blogged along the way; you’ve seen the downs (and the ups :-( that have happened during my journey) and I’ve reached what I consider a milestone.  Ninety days on the program.

I’ve discovered foods I love, foods I’m not so crazy about and foods that I can’t quite figure out why they exist on the face of the Earth.  But one of my biggest discoveries was that so far, it hasn’t been that difficult to stay on the plan and move forward.

As I reflect on the past 90 days, I realize a lot has changed in my life.  Thinking back on my first visit, I was excited and scared, not sure what was in store for me.  Knowing some of my friends had seen amazing results I was determined to follow the program and do what my coach, Joann Cooper, suggested I do.  But let’s face it, I also know how I work, I seem to sabotage myself when it looks like things are working.  This time had been different, I was determined and before long I realized it was time to go get weighed and measured.  Deep breath…

So there I was, wearing the same clothes I wear every week for my appointment (wouldn’t want to weigh in something that was heavy).  Sometimes it seems as though that scale has a scowl on its face as I prepare to step on it.  Maybe it’s just my vivid imagination but I detected a smirk today.  Deep calming breath…one step forward and up onto the scale, close eyes, release breath and eeek…weigh.

7,776,000 seconds = 129,600 minutes = 2,160 hours = 90 days and here are the results:  Total weight lost 27.5 pounds; 19.5 inches.  I am so excited. I can’t believe it!  I still have more weight to lose but I can go forward a little more invigorated and with renewed dedication!!!

Until next time…

It happens, your body doesn’t cooperate, you feel sluggish, you eat healthy and drink your water but nothing :-(   No weight loss.  I get off the scale, get back on.  No change, the same down to the ounce.

I decide to sneak up on it, maybe if the scale doesn’t see me coming it won’t know it’s me and the weight will drop.  No such luck, no change, no weight loss.  It HAS to be the scale, right?  After all, I’ve eaten my veggies, I’ve weighed my meat.  I’ve been such a good girl.  It must be the new scale…it’s defective.  There, I feel better.  I have a defective scale; I’ll just head back to Target and tell it that I haven’t lost any weight since I bought it so therefore, it’s defective.  After all, they say perception is reality and my reality is that my scale is defective :-) .

Ok, I didn’t take it back but I did scour my food logs and look for a mistake I was making.  It just seemed to be one of those weeks.  I head to RenuU to get weighed and measured.  Trying to figure out how to tell Joann that I had totally followed the program and zip, no weight loss.  In fact on the way over I feel like I’ve gained (amazing the tricks your mind can play!)

The moment approaches, her scale looms before me and then…yep, zip no new lost weight.  BUT I’d lost an inch.  Go figure!  So far, 22 pounds and 14 inches!

Until next time…

NOTE:  As you can probably tell, I write these blogs after I’ve been weighed and measured and analyzed so instead of me repeating this same blog for the next week, suffice it to say that I had the same experience for TWO more weeks.  Didn’t lose one pound of weight BUT in that period of time I lost a total of three inches.  So the grand total so far?  22 pounds, 16 inches!  I’m only a week away from being on the program for 90 days.  Let’s see what the future holds :-)

Where does that fat go when you start losing the weight?  As I mentioned last week I’m back on a roll!  I had managed to lose the half-pound I had gained plus 3 more pounds and 3.5 inches.  It was nice to feel normal and continuing the weight loss.  But I began to wonder…where does that fat actually go?  That began my quest to find out…

The answer, it seems, was only a Google away.  I found several articles that not only answered my question, they gave me much more information than I needed, or wanted.  But the fact is it goes away.  Here’s an article that makes it fairly easy to understand in case you are interested,

So now that I know what happens, I think I’m more determined than ever to get rid of this excess fat that’s been hanging around most of my life.  I think the last time I was at my “ideal” weight, was when I was going to my 10 year class reunion.  And to protect you from doing math in your head, I won’t give dates. :-)

Onward and downward, this week the total lost is a total of 22 pounds and 13 inches.  I’m feeling good and getting excited again about the changing shape of my body!

Until next time…

I realize that I moaned and pouted and stomped my feet over gaining a half a pound and going up a half-inch in my waist and a half-inch in my arm last week BUT I’ve dried my eyes, sucked it up and this week when I got on the scales…what a surprise!

Weight fluctuates; your water intake increases and decreases.  You eat more fibrous vegetables one day and less the next, you have an early dinner one night and a late dinner the next.  I do understand how this happens.  However, it can be discouraging when you think you are on a roll and you get stopped right at the next level!

Last time I vowed to lose that half-inch in the waist so my jeans didn’t hurt when I zipped them up.  Well, I didn’t do that…yet.  It was still the same BUT there was other good news. First I LOST weight and I lost the half-inch in my arm plus a half-inch in my thigh!  Better than I ever expected!

How am I doing so far?  The results this week:   3.5 pounds, and 2.5 inches, what a difference from the week before!  Now, my total loss since I began 7 weeks ago: 18.5 pounds and 13 inches.  I am one happy camper ladies and gentlemen!

Until next time…

Six weeks into the new program and WHAM!  I gained weight.  That’s right, weight AND inches back.  Now how on earth did that happen?

I was good; I promise I was good, really good…well sort of good.  If I’m going to be perfectly honest…and isn’t that what this blog is all about…I think I might have eaten a few ounces more of that sirloin strip than I should have (but it is hard to tell exactly how much it weighs when there’s a bone in it!) And, it had been Valentine’s Day and I had to fix dinner for my husband and me so we didn’t go out and spend money on food I shouldn’t eat, right?  Have I made enough excuses yet because I am perfectly capable of coming up with some more.

Actually, this is a very natural occurrence but it just drove me crazy to think that after all that hard work I had gained weight and inches.  The solution?  Joann suggested that I take an enzyme that would help me digest the beef a little easier.  I thought that was probably a better solution than what I used to do — which was drink a Diet Coke allowing the acid in the drink to help me digest the meat better.   I have no idea if that worked, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Reality is that I only gained a half of pound and one inch (half an inch in my stomach but what’s with the half an inch in my arm????) and it’s only temporary but you can be sure of one thing…I WILL get rid of that half inch in my stomach cause baby it hurts to zip up those smaller size jeans!!

Final tally – 15 pounds and 10-1/2 inches!

Until next time…


Ok I admit it; I’m a week behind in my blog, so let’s start with last week. Five weeks down and yippee finally a size down in clothes! Actually, the skirts downsize came easily, in fact they are getting a little too big on me now. It was the jeans. You know the ones, those jeans that have been in the closet for at least 5 years waiting to see if I could ever get them on again. Taunting me, making fun of me, letting me know that I had gained weight, that I couldn’t get them over my hips much less zip them. They were only there to be a reminder of what used to be (or more realistically, a fantasy that I would get back into them on the way down to a smaller size – which sizes also reside in my closet).

Well, I showed them! HA! Not only did I get them over my hips… but…I couldn’t zip them. For the past 2 weeks I have been trying them on hoping to be able to get them buttoned and zipped. Any woman that has washed their jeans in hot water knows the routine. Lay on the floor (or bed), knees bent, suck in your stomach, quit breathing…try to zip. If that doesn’t work, repeat above BUT lift your tush off the floor/bed, suck that stomach in harder and zip. Neither method worked for me :-(

For those of you that are old enough, remember the “dickey”? (And for those of you that don’t it’s a small fabric insert worn to fill in the neckline of a top of what was once considered showing too much cleavage). I figured I might become famous if I could invent one for jeans. One side has a button and one side has a button hole…attach to jeans and the 6-inch gap that needs to be closed suddenly disappears. Unfortunately, I haven’t sewn since high school so I couldn’t see that happening. Best laid plans and all…

So, what happens? Suddenly a week and a half later, voilà! ZZZZZZZZZIPPPPPP! The jeans are buttoned, the zipper is zipped and while I might not be able to take really deep breaths yet…I’m finally down a size in my jeans! What a great feeling!!

Being curious, I decided to find out just how much I needed to lose to go down a size. What I found was interesting. I had always heard that once you lose 10-15 pounds down you go. But if you are more Rubenesque (like me) you have to lose more inches than if you were smaller to start. If you want to know more about the why, check out this article: How Much Weight Do You Lose Before You Change Sizes?

Anyway, I am totally delighted that I managed to zip those jeans and I’m going to make sure that they eventually fall off as I can go down another size! At five weeks it’s 15.5 pounds and 11.5 inches.  WooHoo!

Until next time…

Let me clarify, when I say a little crazy, I don’t mean that I can’t separate reality from fantasy or that I’m unsound, it’s more like I’m passionately preoccupied.  But when my dieting affects my dreaming…it makes me stop to wonder what’s going on in that deep dark part of my subconscious.   The part that controls most of my thoughts and actions may be working overtime.

Let me start by saying that on Thursday I reached my one month mark on my quest to lose weight.  This is awesome for me, I’ve stayed with it and I have been 100% compliant on the program.  But then came last night…

I ask you, who can resist having dinner with your husband, mom, brother and niece?  And, since I’m the only one in the family watching what I eat, the dinner location wasn’t my choice…plus I love Chinese food.  (Have I set out enough excuses to justify my decisions?)  So what, you ask?  I’m a big girl; I can make the right choices can’t I?  We went to Yao’s Restaurant for dinner and it tasted fabulous (and even if you’re not a Chinese food fan you can understand the joy of eating a dinner that someone else has fixed instead of fixing it yourself)!  But, I’m sure I wasn’t 100% compliant and today I feel sort of “puffy”.  You know that feeling, the way you feel when you’ve held your nose closed and puffed out your cheeks so you look like a blowfish.  Ok, maybe it’s not that bad but I can tell that I’m feeling “heavier” today.  I was a relatively good girl and instead of ordering my usual fried rice and sesame chicken or Mongolian beef or pot stickers, I ate chicken and vegetables with lots of broccoli and no rice.  But I did have the hot and sour soup (I’m allowed tofu so why not!) and I think it was the hot and sour soup that got me.   I tasted so good and honestly I would have no problem eating a huge vat of the stuff.  But in hindsight, I probably should have passed on the soup!

Now for the “crazy” part of the story:  I bolted awake this morning feeling anxious and upset and wondered how I was going to confess my non-compliance to my coach, Joann and to my friends that are supporting me 24/7.  I slowly realized that I wasn’t upset over the Chinese food I ate last night; I had dreamed I was at a fashion show sitting with lots of friends eating pretzels and popcorn.  And I don’t mean the air popped, here’s a cup of healthy popcorn to enjoy.  I mean shoveling that buttered popcorn in my mouth by bucketfuls and chasing it down with pretzels.  (I didn’t dream about what I was drinking but just writing about this makes me thirsty.)  So it was kind of a relief when I realized I dreamed the popcorn and pretzels binge!  Crazy, huh!

However, since I don’t weigh until next Thursday, I think I’m good.  I just have to make sure I stay 100% compliant for the next few days and stay focused on the end results.  After all, one month after starting the RenuU program I’ve lost 13 pounds and 9 inches so it can’t be all bad!!!

Now my question to you…what kind of healthy recipes do you have to pass along to help me expand my “healthy cooking” repertoire?

Until next time…

For as long as I can remember, I have heard it said that it takes 21 days to make create or break a habit but I’ve never really bought into that theory.  Maybe to create a new habit, it might work.  For example maybe if I decided to walk every day for 21 days I might start seeing the benefits and logically think I should continue.  And, I do believe that if I did it long enough it would become instinctual and I would automatically do it without giving it a second thought.  But for getting rid of bad habits, I just don’t believe 21 days will do it.   I mean, after all, I did not form my bad eating habits in 21 days; it was a lifetime of choosing my favorite foods over my not so favorite foods.  Choosing hamburgers over fish, chips over vegetables and cheese over EVERYTHING.

So I asked myself, after 21 days have I changed my bad eating habits?  No, not yet.  But I continue to think about my food choices, choosing fish over hamburger, vegetables over chips and no cheese on ANYTHING.  I have to admit, it hasn’t been easy.  And, as I sat watching my networking group eat bacon, eggs, oatmeal, croissants, fruit and more it made me want to give into some of my bad eating habits.  (For the record, I did not give in.  I drank my Mango protein drink and was just fine!  Still 100% compliant with the program.)

The great part is that I realize I am not giving up those things FOREVER, I am readjusting my metabolism and in a few months I will be making healthy food choices without having to consciously think about what I should choose as opposed to what I want to choose.

Most importantly…in 21 days I’ve lost 10 pounds and 7-1/2” and people are starting to notice.  It’s nice to have people not only notice but show their support…now THAT’S a habit I could enjoy and I bet it wouldn’t take me 21 days to get into that one!

Until next time…